What spiritual practices did he question and oppose?
Buddhism does not answered explicitly "whether there is a Creator God, because with our puny mind we cannot comprehend, therefore any speculation is foolish and waste of time- and God knows (metaphorically speaking) we have wasted so much of our energy, life and bloodshed on inconsequential subjects, and many fools are still doing it today. We believe in gods or more correctly speaking many classes of Heavenly beings, can they affect our life? Yes. Can they change our destiny and give salvation to our mind, and eternal happiness- NO, because in Buddhism, they are merely another sentient beings, who are also with no way to let go of their own sufferings and delusions. So what we believe, we believing in eternal mind, not soul- because the Christian souls still contain the shadow of a body- some spiritualists called it esthetic or ethereal bodies. If we deny Eternal Mind and Reincarnation then Buddhism falls into Nihilism, and if we accept souls then we fall into Eternalism, which is the basis for all God based religions, neither is the correct thesis to us. We think we should accept some premises of Buddhism is correct (a little bits of faith) and follow the training programs and teachings (that is why we are a school and not necessary a religion), a lot of doubts, which we need to prove to ourselves one step at the time. Eventually all is clear and understood- the Enlightenment, but unnecessary to speak aloud to the non-believers. This is also very unlike Islam and some Christianity’s scions' unquestionable faith, and make the loudest voices possible to the extend of killing and bloodshed! As a Buddhist we also don't want some Book Buddhists' misunderstand some and twist other teachings into another outer paths like S** and other twisted forms of false Buddhism.
What is spirituality? Religion?
This is a great question. I think you are dead on with this statement.. "Spirituality is a matter of philosophy, and how you connect your existence with the rest of nature." Although I attend a "Religious Science" church - I think of myself as "Spiritual" as opposed to religious. In fact, the church has just changed it's name from "United Church of Religious Science" to "Centers for Spiritual Living" Our belief is that there is one God that works in and through all things. The nature of God is love. We don't believe in hell or sin. We believe that if you change your thinking - you can change your life. My take on all of that is that God is a power. It's the power of love and goodness. You can let that stuff (God) - work through you - or not. We get to choose how we look at things. If we choose to look at most things in a positive light - our lives will obviously be nicer. Also - my church believes in immortality - but I don't know about that. There's no proof. For me - there is proof of God. It's a knowing smile from a stranger. It's my kid - giving me a hug. It's kind words from a co-worker. It's easy to believe in God when you don't see It as a big daddy in the sky that will grant wishes and/or judge and possibly even punish you. You might say that there is no proof that God is a power - or that there is a power called God. I have spoken with Atheists and said - "but if God is love - and you believe in love - then you believe in God." They told me that love is simply a chemical reaction in the brain. I figure that's the way they choose to look at it. It really doesn't matter. My beliefs are for me. I think religion and spirituality are simply tools that we use to make ourselves be better people. My spirituality might represent a shovel. If I want to dig a hole with a shovel - and an Atheist wants to dig it with their bare hands - what does it matter as long as the job gets done? If I see goodness in someone - that's God. It doesn't matter what it's called. All that matters is the outcome. Religion very often has a lot to do with fear. Spirituality seems to be about love. They are not the same thing at all - but do crossover and blend from time to time. Namaste!
What is your response?
Heaven is indeed a real place. The Bible tells us that Heaven is God’s throne (Isaiah 66:1, Acts 7:48-49, Matthew 5:34-35). After Jesus’ resurrection and appearance on earth to His disciples “He was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19, Acts 7:55-56). “Christ did not enter a man made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence,“ (Hebrews 9:24). Jesus not only went before us, entering on our behalf, but is alive and has a present ministry in heaven, serving as our high priest in the true tabernacle made by God (Hebrews 6:19-20, 8:1-2). The tabernacle that Moses set up on this earth was a copy of the one the Lord pitched in heaven (Hebrews 8:2, 5; 9:11). God gave Moses specific instructions as to how the tabernacle was to be built and all the furnishings contained within and said it was to be made exactly according to the pattern he had been shown (Exodus 25:9, 40, Acts 7:44). The purpose of the earthly tabernacle was that God would have a dwelling place among the Israelites here on earth, during the Old Testament times (Exodus 25:8). God appeared to them as a cloud by day and fire by night, guiding them in the direction they were to go (Exodus 13:21-22, 33:9-10, Numbers 9:15-23). Today we have no need for that pattern of the tabernacle as Jesus is the fulfillment of the new covenant and daily serves on our behalf (1 Corinthians 11:25, Hebrews 9:15). As a result, God dwells today in the heart of every believer through His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). We are also told by Jesus Himself that there are many rooms in God’s house and that he Has gone before us to prepare a place for us. We have the assurance of His word that he will one day come back to earth and take us to where He is in heaven (John 14:1-4). Our belief in an eternal home in Heaven is based on an explicit promise of Jesus. Heaven is most definitely a real place. Heaven truly does exist. “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart full of assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
In you spiritual understanding, what is this place called the world?
Spiritually I think this world is a test for us all. Each time we follow a path that is not right and goes against the basic morals, we tend to get punished even if initially we do not really acknowledge it happening. At other times we are given tests even if we are obeying the rules. These times give us a better understanding of whom we really are. - Often without experiencing we can make a certain judgement then when it comes to it we realise where are barriers in strength lay. I know in myself there's been times where I had to make a decision that fundamentally went against my initial judgement but knew it was right. This is normal and makes us all human but sad in the fact often the grey lines can make us become hypercritical. There's also a thought that all the challenges in life you get given your soul has some had an element in choosing its path by it choosing the body it attaches to. Also be careful in what you wish for as in my experience it can come true many years later when the time is wrong for you. I guess I live in this thought as its the only way I believe is fair for a person to go through the bad times even when they don't deserve it. I just feel that I struggle in believing in a lot of the concepts behind modern religions and this makes more sense. I don't believe God has the right to punish anyone and it has to come from within the person. It is also a privilege for a person to spiritually be seen as to have the strength of a human and not an animal. Often people loose this strength do bad things, but you cant blame them if the were not initially given and understood those initial guidelines. Our environment and biology give us further challenges to this world in conclusion, I think we all have our own challenges to overcome, understand who we are further and live in harmony with our surroundings. The end goal is to become enlightened by knowledge and wisdom.
What is your response?
I was the same I had much negative /harmful thought and some action , I did not see this as harmful I though I was a normal person as my anxiety increased I increased sin to reduce it when this stopped working I turned to more extreme measures , it was only when I experienced sudden spiritual enlightenment through science based practice and all anxiety was gone I realised what it was like to be sin free , as an Evolutional Goodhist I now work to maintain goodness daily keeping fear/anxiety and sin at bay and encourage others to try it.
I need a mature response to my confusing spiritual dilemma?
This is a kinda long question, but I hope I can get a real response. I know this place is just full of atheist vs. Christian fueds... So a little about myself. 20 year old man. When I was younger I had a tough time. My dad was always out cheating on my mom. I hung out with bad people, did drugs, alcohol and criminal stuff. But a lots changed. I'm straight edge now, don't break the law anymore, and I've really matured. I met a woman I really loved, we were together for 4 years and we wanted a future together and to get married. But she cheated on me and left me. I started doing Muay Thai a few years back, and turned out I'm a natural at it. I've fought all over the world. I've won many tournaments. I even train people in it too. My whole life I've sort of been bound to violence. At this point I view it as a necessary part of my life to survive. To survive the many hardships I face daily, and if it weren't for using violence to smash my former bad habits then I might still be a failure. I've always thought of myself as sort of an atheist. I do like some of the Buddhist beliefs, such as mastering the mind and the cessation of suffering. And I've been feeling like something is missing from my life so I'm looking towards spirituality. But I just don't think there is anything out there for me to believe. Everything preaches peace and forgiveness, kindness to fellow man. But I'm not ready to embrace such ideas yet. I also plan on going into the Military. I want to go far in it too. I live my life as what some call the modern warrior. And I just feel like spiritually there is nothing that would embrace someone such as myself. I could go on and on about myself and my beliefs, but I feel I don't need to. I've shared enough, and I hope I can get a mature response because this is important to me. I don't know what to believe. I have a void in my life and I feel I need something spiritual. I'm open to any advice you can give me.
What is the Christian response?
Great question. I've been there. When I encounter those who believe differently from myself, whether Christian or otherwise, I am open to discussion, and even polite debate. My daughter's boyfriend is an ex-Catholic who has very strong, negative ideas about spiritual matters in general, and specifically Christianity. We have had many interesting conversations on the subject. My home is frequented by those who do not believe as I do, whether from differing Christian backgrounds (an amazing number of visitors are, or were Catholic), or who are another religion entirely (not very many from this group, though). My sister and several nieces are Pentecostal, and she still hopes I will see the light one day, and come up to the level I am missing. I make my points to those who will listen, and to those who do not, I tell them "you know how I feel", and move on. I don't think the cause for Christ, or for greater understanding, is helped by arguing; which I believe broadens the divide. And I pray for them. God knows the best way to handle a situation, and he knows if the path a person is on--if they truly believe they are being obedient to his word--is the path that leads to eternal life. Then I let it go. If I ever run into one of those persons with whom I disagree, I am up for reopening the discussion; and I always tell people to call me if they ever have any questions. That's the Christian response from where I sit. Hope I helped. God bless you. † ♥ Edit: Meghan W is correct. I spend far less time on the non-essential issues of Christianity when talking to someone who doesn't believe as I do. As for the essentials (Salvation, faith, etc.), I spend more time making my case. to another person, because these are of greater importance.